Cute, Useful, An Unusual Combination.
Skoda Says This Is An MPV As Well As A Car.
Looks Good, Drivers Well, Lugs Lots Of Things; Pricey Too.
**** out of 5
You would think that a car with a less than poetic name like the Skoda Roomster and which was in fact a thinly disguised Volkswagen van, would look a bit dull. But you’d be wrong.
The Roomster actually looks extremely cute, loveable almost. It has a sardonic smiling grille at the front, with bold headlights to give a bright, interested look, and the slightly bulbous appearance of the body. Skoda called it the Roomster presumably to suggest utility and usefulness, and this little machine does do lots of jobs. If you remove the three rear seats, you can store 1,780 litres of stuff in the back. You can also fit bike-holders in the luggage compartment. There are roof rails available too. I managed to load up my racing bike in the back with its wheels on, no problem. I’m sure I could have got about six more in too.
The interior is attractive, with good quality plastics and attractive dials and instruments. Very VW, (VW owns Skoda, and most of the bits and pieces under the body are from the VW parts bin) although the radio and air conditioning controls which sit in the middle of the dashboard looked a bit seedy and out of place. The deep windows are designed to make the interior as light as possible.
The rear seats are elevated so that people in the back can have a better view. Skoda said the car is designed in two parts – the “driving room” at the front, and the “living room” at the back “a vast area dedicated to keeping passengers safe, entertained and relaxed. Thanks to raised seating, a huge glass area and remarkable levels of legroom, the Roomster treats all passengers to a first class travelling experience,” says the Skoda blurb. Skoda says all this adds up to the combination of the qualities of an MPV and a regular mid-sized car.
I drove the Roomster 3 1.9 TDI (3 denotes top of the range trim) and very impressive it was too. The steering was light and accurate. The 5-speed manual gearbox performed well. Performance was terrific, but the engine was on the noisy side without being unpleasantly so; the noises were what you’d expect from a practical little car doing useful jobs.
Skoda claims that the average fuel consumption is 53.3 mpg (5.3 l/km). I never got close to that although after one long motorway trip I did manage 48.6 mpg (5.8 l/km), very impressive for a car of this size, doing about 80 to 85 mph (137 km/h). I averaged 45 mpg (6.3 l/km) over about 235 miles. I would point out that WintonsWorld road tests are unique in that fuel consumption results are gained from actual measurement of fuel used, rather than any reliance on the car’s computer.
There are 6 engine choices – 3 diesel and 3 petrol. The petrols are 1.2 70bhp, 1.4 85 bhp and 1.6 105 bhp. The diesels are 1.4 70 and 80 bhp, and the 1.9 litre 105 bhp I drove. The 1.6 litre petrol has an automatic gearbox option. Trim choices are designated 1, 2 and 3. Base Roomsters start at £10,055-€12,500 and come with a CD player, front electric windows, MP3 player connection, tinted glass, ABS brakes and 6 airbags. Level 2 adds things like an alarm, electrically adjusted and heated door mirrors, remote central locking and trip computer. You get cruise control and a panoramic double sunroof if you opt for the 3. The car I drove had metallic paint, climatronic climate control and heated front seats. Sitting above the 3, is the Scout, which has bigger bumpers and is a bit longer and wider.
Now we come to the bad news.
My admittedly well equipped Roomster 3 cost £15,525-€19,500. That does seem a lot of money for a rather nice van, especially as the competition includes the Nissan Note, Vauxhall Meriva, Renault Megane Scenic, and Ford C-Max, while cut-price contenders include the Citroen Berlingo, Renault Kangoo, Peugeot Partner, and Fiat Doblo.
Neil Winton – June 15, 2008
|Skoda Roomster 3 1.9 TDI PD|
|Engine:||1.9 litre 4-cylinder diesel|
|Power:||105 bhp @ 4,000|
|Torque:||240 Nm @ 1,800|
|Acceleration:||0-62 mph-100 km/h 11.5 seconds|
|Top Speed:||113 mph-182 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined – 53.5 mpg-5.3 l/km WintonsWorld test – 45.0 mpg-6.3 l/km|
|Service Intervals:||oil change 10,000 miles|
|Warranty:||2 years unlimited, 3rd year until 60,000 miles|
|Boot capacity:||450-1,780 litres
|Competition:||Nissan Note, Vauxhall Meriva, Renault Megane Scenic, Ford C-Max|